Proprietor Jean Engelbrecht's Rust en Vrede Estate

Rust en Vrede Winegrowing came to South Africa in the middle of the 17th century, courtesy of the Dutch East India Company. Rust en Vrede was established not long afterwards, in 1694. Naturally endowed, the country produced wine in volume, but geographical, cultural and political isolation left the Rust en Vrede vineyard neglected and in disrepair. This all changed when Rugby Champion Jannie Engelbrecht purchased the winery in 1977. He immediately set about making changes, and the Rust en Vrede estate was reborn. Rust en Vrede became the first private winery in the country to specialize in the exclusive production of red wines, and in the early 1980s became the first producer in South Africa to make a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. This award winning wine would become known as Rust en Vrede Estate. In 1998, Jannie handed the reins of Rust en Vrede over to his son Jean. Shortly after assuming control, Jean appointed Louis Strydom as head winemaker. Together, they worked to accelerate the evolution of Rust en Vrede's wines and image, making it more relevant on the international wine stage and enabling it to compete with the leading wines of the world. Their efforts were rewarded when Wine Spectator named the Rust en Vrede Estate to its “Top 100 Wines” four years in a row, a first for a South African winery, and they continue to be consistent performers on the international stage. www.rustenvrede.com Jean Engelbrecht is also the proprietor of Guardian Peak. He reflects: “A lifestyle without wine is incomplete. Our Live with Wine philosophy is built on our firm belief that wine and food should be inseparable in our daily diet - it being not as much a matter of appreciating wine with food, but rather the enjoyment of wine and food. I trust that our wines and our food will fulfill the latter."
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Rustenberg: Producing Wines Consistently Since 1892 in Stellenbosch

Rustenberg Winery in South Africa Founded in 1682 and nestled in the valley of the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch, Rustenberg’s rich heritage and ethos has been informed by many centuries of human influence striving to understand and work with nature to produce wines of distinct character true to their terrior, variety and informed style. Rustenberg has a wine-growing history dating back to 1682, when Roelof Pasman from Meurs, near the Rhine, recognized its winegrowing potential. By 1781, some 3000 cases of wine were produced on the farm. Production doubled by the end of the century and a new cellar was built. Wine has been bottled at this cellar for an unbroken period since 1892. In the early 1800s, Rustenberg was divided by owner Jacob Eksteen and a section was given to his son-in-law, who named it Schoongezicht and sold it soon after. Rustenberg and Schoongezicht were at their peak around 1812, with beautiful homesteads and flourishing vineyards. But by mid-century, recession coupled with disease in the vines and brought bankruptcy and dispossession. Schoongezicht was rescued in 1892 by John X Merriman (who was to become Prime Minister of the Cape), and Rustenberg by his brother-in-law Sir Jacob Barry. Together they revitalized the farms. In 1941, Peter and Pamela Barlow bought Rustenberg, later acquiring Schoongezicht and reuniting the properties. Their son Simon took over the running of the farm in 1987. The Barlows have been at Rustenberg for over 60 years: the longest period any one family has owned the farm. Click here to browse Michael's Wine Cellar's current Rustenberg wine selections, including several great values from this historic property. Proprietor Simon Barlow will be traveling to Sarasota to host a special Rustenberg Wine Dinner at Michael's Wine Cellar on September 24! Click here for event details. www.rustenberg.co.za
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Porcupine Ridge Wines

Porcupine Ridge Wines Marc Kent is the winemaker for the Boekenhoutskloof wines as well as the range of wines called Porcupine Ridge. Porcupine Ridge is a handcrafted range of wines, celebrated for its uncompromising commitment to quality. The wines carry a distinctive label featuring an original pen and ink of the crested porcupine drawn by leading South Africa wildlife artist, Zakkie Eloff. These crested porcupines inhabit the vineyards of the Boekenhoutskloof homestead. Click here to learn more about the Boekenhoutskloof Estate. Click here to shop for Porcupine Ridge wines online.
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Neil Ellis Wines

In 1986 Neil Ellis took a calculated leap of faith into the wine negociant arena, buying and vinifying grapes from selected vineyards and marketing these hand-reared wines under his own label. Mindful that exceptional terroir and assiduous vineyard cultivation form the bedrock of great wine, Neil forged long-term supply partnerships with top grape-growers in premium areas. Today the same philosophy—sourcing superior grapes from low-yielding, hand-selected vineyard lots in the Cape’s top terroirs—remains the mainstay of the Neil Ellis wines. In the very year Neil Ellis set out as a negociant, his future partner Hans Peter Schroder purchased the Stellenbosch wine estate, Oude Nektar, in the spectacular, viticulturally-ideal Jonkershoek Valley. This coincidence gained fresh resonance some years later when Neil and Hans finally met. Neil, recipient of many accolades since flying solo, had outgrown his leased cellar; Hans, in search of a like-minded partner for a quality-focused winery, had extensive cellar facilities (and, moreover, prime-quality grapes). After four decades of making wine, the next stage of the journey has begun with Neil’s son, Warren, sharing responsibilities as winemaker and viticulturist. Click here to browse the current Neil Ellis wine selections available through Michael's Wine Cellar. www.neilellis.com
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Hamilton Russell's Terroir-Driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Hamilton Russell Vineyards, one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea, is located in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Founder Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped 170 hectare property in 1975, after an exhaustive search for the most southerly site on which to make South Africa’s top cool climate wines from a selection of noble varieties. His son Anthony Hamilton Russell, who took over in 1991 (buying the property in 1994), narrowed the range to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay only and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Anthony with winemaker Hannes Storm and viticulturist Johan Montgomery are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards terroir in their wines. Tiny yields and intense worldwide demand keep the elegant, highly individual, estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in very short supply. Check back soon to browse Hamilton Russell wines for sale online through Michael's Wine Cellar. www.hamiltonrussellvineyards.co.za
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Historic Groot Constantia Wines

Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine farm, in existence for 328 years this year. Wine has been produced on the estate without interruption since 1685. Commander Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) arrived at the Cape supply station in 1679. Estranged from his wife he arrived in the company of his children and sister-in-law, Cornelia Six. Back in the Netherlands van der Stel had gained a solid background in viticulture at his vineyards in Muiderbergh. There he learned the art of wine and brandy making which he was soon to implement in the Cape. On July 13, 1685, he was originally granted the land on which Groot Constantia stands today. The property has changed hands many times over the centuries and now Groot Constantia is a National Monument and a living museum with the task of preserving the history and cultural legacy of the South African wine industry for the people of South Africa. The current owners of the estate, the Groot Constantia Trust, a nonprofit company, has ensured that Groot Constantia is beautifully maintained and operated to the highest standards – delivering a top quality experience to visitors. To shop locally or ship Groot Constantia wines to multiple states across the US, click here to browse the current offerings available online through Michael's Wine Cellar. www.grootconstantia.co.za
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Stark-Condé Wines

Stark-Condé Wines is a family-run winery making hand-crafted wines using tried and-true traditional methods. The total production is less than 3000 cases, making it one of South Africa’s true boutique wineries. Meticulous viticulture, selected harvesting, grape-sorting, small-batch fermenting, careful barrel maturation; these are their guiding philosophies. All Stark-Condé wines are made from grapes from their own “Oude Nektar” farm vineyards in Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch. In addition to being viticulturally ideal, the site is also pretty spectacular visually! “A brilliant little operation this, one of the Cape’s brightest young stars, in a very cool area indeed, the Jonkershoek Valley. UK winewriter Jancis Robinson recently singled out the Condé Cab as one of her favourites; 5-star ratings for both its Cabs have been notched up in this guide within a couple of years; US Wine Spectator has rated them 90-plus. All this when the wines were being fashioned in an old farm house. Now graphic designer-become winemaker José Condé has revamped his winery, to achieve ‘more control, better quality’. There will be ‘no compromise’, he adds.” - John Platter South African Wines Check back soon for new selections of Stark-Condé wines from Michael's Wine Cellar. www.stark-conde.co.za
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Cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck Wines

Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck Wines hosted multiple wine experiences with Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club travelers in the summer of 2013. Michael and Terri Klauber of Michael's Wine Cellar led these wine-buying trips to build relationships with winemakers around the world, often visiting with close existing partners and wine industry friends as well. In 2013, they were fortunate to personally connect with Pieter throughout several journeys through South Africa. The two adages: ‘great wine is made in the vineyard’, and ‘focus on getting the basics right the first time’ are what guides Graham Beck Wines in their quest to craft highly individual wines of exceptional quality and universal appeal. Graham Beck Wines is now entering its third generation as a family winery. It was established in 1983 when entrepreneur Graham Beck purchased Madeba farm outside the Western Cape town of Robertson with a fervent ambition to establish a world-class winery in this region. The first wine was produced in 1991 and the cellar's maiden vintage Graham Beck Brut, was selected for the 1994 inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. In his role as patriarch and mentor, Graham Beck’s unswerving work ethic, compassionate nature and infectious zest for life uplifted and inspired all those who knew him. As an entrepreneur, pioneer and philanthropist, his legacy lives on. Growing up in Durban as a 'surfer dude,' Pieter Ferreira joined Graham Beck's Robertson cellar in 1990 with a challenge from Mr. Beck that his “flagship wine must be a sparkling!” Today as Graham Beck Wines Cellarmaster, it remains a continuous journey for Pieter: "I'm still in search of the perfect bubble - until then, I'll keep refining.” Click here to search the current Graham Beck Wines selections available through Michael's Wine Cellar. www.grahambeckwines.co.za
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Ernie Els: Top Performer in Golf & Wine from South Africa

Ernie Els is quoted as saying that "wine is like golf - in both endeavors nature has the last ruling." As one of South Africa's leading ambassadors and one of the most recognizable faces in the world of sports, it is befitting that Ernie chose Stellenbosch to produce his wine. This idea was born from a longstanding friendship between Ernie Els and wine visionary Jean Engelbrecht of Rust en Vrede. In 1999 the concept of Ernie Els Wines was born and with the help of award-winning winemaker Louis Strydom, they produced the maiden, 2000 vintage of Ernie Els - a 'classic' Bordeaux blend. The marketing synergy between the wine and Ernie's 'classic' golf swing were apparent. The intention from the outset was to focus on delivering a quality product that could hold its own in the company of the world's finest wines. Naturally the plan was to start on a small scale, ensuring the packaging and presentation, marketing and distribution, were of a standard that was in-line with their vision for a premium product. Today, Louis continues as winemaker and also heads up the operation as Managing Director. His understanding of the terroir, and performance levels of these vineyards have been a key ingredient to the success of his wines. Check back soon for online availability of Ernie Els wines through Michael's Wine Cellar. www.ernieelswines.com
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Bouchard Finlayson Wines in South Africa

Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir Wine Cellar This evening in South Africa, our second group of Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club travelers will be enjoying the first winemaker dinner of this journey. (This group of travelers includes many who have previously enjoyed safari experiences and explored South Africa's winelands with the GCCC and Admiral Travel International in 2011.) Our itinerary officially began on August 4, 2013, at the beloved and distinguished Oyster Box Hotel in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We participated in a full day of touring today, with a quick break to indulge with a "bunny chow" lunch, but are certainly looking forward to tonight! Peter Finlayson of Bouchard Finlayson will be personally hosting an exclusive dinner for our group in the Shell Room at the Oyster Box Hotel. We'll share photos and updates about the menu soon! - Established in 1989, Bouchard Finlayson is a boutique winery dedicated to the making of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines of outstanding quality. Located in the wine ward of Walker Bay, an hour and a half from Cape Town, the 125-hectare property currently has 22 hectares under vines; the rest is mountain land, covered by the spectacular indigenous ‘fynbos’ flora of the Western Cape. With only a small portion of the farm under vine, Bouchard Finlayson is able to ensure the conservancy of the mountain land. Bouchard Finlayson’s flagship wine is the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, which has won many an award and accolade. Growing on the slopes of Galpin Peak, repeated vintages of this path-blazing wine continue to reflect a true celebration of Pinot-crafting, consistently endorsing the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley as a jewel in the hunt for this illusive grape. Winemaker Peter Finlayson is renowned for being the South African Pinot Pioneer. Peter’s vast knowledge of wine and the wine industry as well as his role in putting the Walker Bay wine region on the map, is well documented. www.bouchardfinlayson.com Click here to shop online for Bouchard Finlayson wines from Michael's Wine Cellar.
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De Toren Fusion V Wine from South Africa

Several wine dinners during our 2013 Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club trips to South Africa included De Toren wines. De Toren Fusion V was the first wine released, with the maiden vintage in 1999. The name refers to the ‘fusing’ together of the five Bordeaux varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. The Fusion V vineyards have soils with a higher gravel content, favouring the growing of Cabernet Sauvignon, and receive long afternoon sun exposure resulting in deeper colour and flavour intensities. Cabernet Sauvignon is the backbone of this wine and it makes up between 50-60% of the final blend. Michael's Wine Cellar does not currently have the De Toren wines available for sale online; however, we expect to have a limited supply of these South African wines available for purchase soon. Feel free to contact us at 941.955.CORK (2675) with any specific product questions. www.de-toren.com
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Marc Kent's Boekenhoutskloof Wines from South Africa

Our Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club travels this summer resulted in multiple visits and wine events with Marc Kent and his Boekenhoutskloof Estate. Boekenhoutskloof was established in 1776. Located in the furthest corner of the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, the farm's name means "ravine of the Boekenhout" (pronounced Book-n-Howed). Boekenhout is an indigenous Cape Beech tree greatly prized for furniture making. In 1993, the farm and homestead was bought and restored and a new vineyard planting program was established that now includes Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Semillon and Viognier. This svelte lady is the figurehead of Boekenhoutskloof. She is an adaptation of an early silver hallmark of the Cape of Good Hope and she carries the dove of peace and hope. Guarding over Boekenhoutskloof, she represents intrinsic quality, which we prize above all else. Marc Kent is the chief winemaker and driving force behind the dynamic farm. A maverick spirit, Marc is unafraid to experiment with the unconventional, but his principal commitment is to quality on every level and in every detail. Click here to view the current Boekenhoutskloof wines available for sale through Michael's Wine Cellar. www.boekenhoutskloof.co.za
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Waterford Estate Wines from South Africa

Waterford Estate - Winery Photo - South Africa My wife Terri and I have the great pleasure of leading three groups of Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club travelers through South Africa's winelands and safari experiences this summer. In most cases, we enjoy the opportunity to purchases wines during our travels. However, we were privileged with a special treat on July 26 and 27, 2013, as Kevin and Heather Arnold of Waterford Estate Wines hosted extraordinary wine dinners at Londolozi Game Reserve. Unfortunately, these wines are not currently available for sale in the United States. However, if you are able to enjoy their wines abroad or visit their Stellenbosch winery, you will not be disappointed! -- Waterford Estate was created through a very special partnership between two families who had a shared dream to create a wine farm where life is cherished, the seasons mark time and the fruit always reminds of blessings, abundance and the beauty of nature. Waterford Wines Ltd was founded in 1998 when Jeremy and Leigh Ord purchased this prime Stellenbosch vineyard land (previously part of the Stellenrust Farm). Nestled in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley, in the Stellenbosch region, this 120-hectare property boasts ancient citrus groves, rolling lawns, water features and fragrant lavender beds. Kevin and Heather Arnold were responsible for identifying this unique site, planning the new winery and resurrecting the existing vineyards and orchards, and have been instrumental in developing Waterford into the showcase estate it is today. www.waterfordestate.co.za
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As We Depart to South Africa...

Michael and Terri Klauber on South Africa Safari 2011 As my wife Terri and I prepare to depart on another amazing wine-buying trip to South Africa, I wanted to take a moment to share a few sentiments with wine connoisseurs who may be following our journey online. The two of us have absolutely fallen in love with South Africa over the past several years. We find it interesting how many people don’t realize South Africa’s long, rich history in winemaking and are looking forward to introducing our guests to some of the most historic and celebrated wineries from this region. South Africa’s original grapes came from some of the top European wine growing regions, but the wines were not widely accepted globally until the past few decades. As South African “wine farms” were rebuilt and updated following Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 and the end of Apartheid, independent family-owned wineries have risen again, strongly making a mark on the international wine stage. This summer, three groups of Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club travelers will enjoy some of the top wines from these diverse wine regions through special winery visits I have personally arranged. We'll also be participating in awe-inspiring safari experiences lead by our friend Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel International. Of course, South African cuisine originated with the Spice Route, resulting in flavors inspired by the present day countries of India and Morocco as well as European and Asian influences. We say that you'll find the dishes aromatically spiced, rather than “hot” spiced. The variety of seafood, farm-raised game and fresh regional produce of South Africa is some of the best you’ll find in the world. I'll try to share menus and insights about the cuisine as we go! I hope you'll continue to follow our travels through this blog and our Facebook posts  in the coming weeks. It's going to be an amazing wine, food and safari adventure! - Michael
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Cigars & Cigar Zin for Father's Day

Might I suggest pairing a fine cigar with a great bottle of Zinfandel for the old man this Father's Day? In partnership with Maduro Cigar & Bar, the Wine Cellar is currently featuring the following cigars available for purchase in store: "La Vita Vanilla", Tatiana $4.95 "Bully", Romeo Y Julietta $7.95 "Hemingway Short Story, Arturo Fuente $7.95 "2000 Natural", Davidoff $15.95 "1964 Anniversary", Padron $19.95 "Classic Collection Especial Tubo", Montecristo $16.95 Zinfandel "Old Vines" Cigar Zin, CA, 2011 The Cigar Zin has notes of deep black fruit with a punch of spice and crushed black pepper on the nose. The rich, lush and well-structured wine is hearty with exotic fruit characteristics. Cigar Zin is available for $14.95 in store or online. Of course, if you have something else in mind for dad this year, Michael's Wine Cellar offers more than 1,000 international estate and domaine-bottled wines (200 under $20!), premium and boutique spirits plus craft beers. Stop in the store, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Keep in mind that the restaurant and store will be closed on Father's Day (Sunday, June 16, 2013). Wishing all my fellow fathers a wonderful Father's Day! - Michael
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Montalvo Tequila

Montalvo Tequila with Agave Plants Michael's Wine Cellar offers a broad array of premium and boutique spirits in the store's physical location in Sarasota, Florida. Now, we are proud to offer the entire line of Montalvo Tequila to online shoppers through our web store. Montalvo is a handcrafted, meticulously formulated and triple distilled tequila produced from only the highest quality Blue Agave plants from the Lowlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Montalvo takes great pride in ensuring the brand’s premium quality by handcrafting in small batches, using hand-selected Blue Agave plants picked at the peak of maturity and employing a third distillation. Montalvo is available in three varieties: Plata, Reposado and Añejo. Headquartered in the Tequila region of Mexico, with satellite offices in the U.S., Montalvo is committed to environmental initiatives and works closely with tequila manufacturers in the region to responsibly distill tequila while leaving as minimal a carbon footprint as possible. Montalvo’s triple distillation is a process that further removes impurities and taste contaminants, ensuring the purest tequila and smoothest experience. Less than 5% of today’s tequilas undergo triple distillation; most are double distilled, a more economical but less refined practice. Montalvo's Mission is to create the purest form of modern tequila by combining ancient, generations-old traditions with modern techniques. Click here to buy these three premium tequilas online through www.michaelswinecellar.com.
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Rosé Wines for Summer

These easy to drink, refreshing selections are perfect for summertime picnics, graduation parties or any day at the beach, or on the water.

Rose Wine

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World-Class Wines Under $20

However, Michael's Wine Cellar is also host to a wide array of special value-priced wines: think affordable Bordeaux, everyday Pinot Noir and fantastic Chardonnay that won't break the bank. Our clients frequently turn to our experienced culinary and beverage specialists as they select many of the "finer things in life" for elegant galas, special anniversaries and weddings. (The Michael's On East and Michael's Wine Cellar team, of course, delivers flawlessly!) However, Michael's Wine Cellar is also host to a wide array of special value-priced wines: think affordable Bordeaux, everyday Pinot Noir and fantastic Chardonnay that won't break the bank. Plus, our store specializes in limited-production, estate and domaine-bottled wines, a specialization that allows us the luxury of working closely with many family-operated properties and small production wineries. Click here to browse more than 200 selections under $20 a bottle. 
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Kosher Wine for Passover

Michael's Wine Cellar invites you to tart your Sedar dinner with a nice bottle of kosher bubbly!Michael's Wine Cellar invites you to tart your Sedar dinner with a nice bottle of kosher bubbly! Our store is pleased to offer the following kosher white and red wines in stock for 2013 Passover celebrations. (However, we do make sure to have kosher wines available throughout the year at Michael’s Wine Cellar.) Remember: the store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday – Saturday, but you can shop online anytime. Plus, free local delivery is offered for orders of $100 or more. Moscato “Kosher Dulce Spumante”, Bartenura, IT, 2011 $18.95 Chardonnay “Kosher”, Alfasi, Valle Del Maule, CH, 2010 $9.95 Chardonnay “Kosher”, Yarden, Galilee, Israel, 2009 $19.95 Meritage “Yasmine Kosher”, Recanti, Galilee, Israel, 2010 $11.95 Malvasia “Kosher”, Bartenura, Salento, IT, 2012 $12.95 Merlot ”Kosher”, Yarden, Galilee, Israel, 2006 $27.95 (Our Sarasota-based catering operation is proud to work closely with a number of temples and Jewish community organizations throughout the year, but our online wine shop allows us to serve clients throughout the country!)
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Extra Rewards to Share Your Great Taste!

For any season give the very best of Sarasota: Michael’s On East and Michael’s Wine Cellar gift cards to share the gift of great food, fine wines and culinary culture. Happy holidays to friends near and far! In celebration of a great holiday tradition in the restaurant industry, we are pleased to offer a special gift to you: Receive a $20 bonus gift certificate with every $100 gift card purchase! For a limited time only, so be sure to purchase your holiday gifts for clients, family, friends and neighbors today. Click here to purchase gift cards online, call 941-366-0007, ext. 224 or stop in the restaurant to purchase gift cards. Gift cards are valid for Michael's On East and Michael's Wine Cellar purchases.
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Michael's Wine Cellar
1283 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34239